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Health Journalism 2013: Especially for freelancers

Although all of our sessions are helpful in covering various health topics and in generating great story ideas, freelancers will want to note these specific events:


Field trips

The field trips to various Boston sites could generate story ideas and sources.


There are two tracks of workshops on Thursday. One includes a roundtable discussion of right-to-know issues, essential knowledge to assess medical evidence in your reporting, and how to shape complex topics into great stories. The other track will help you add documents to your website, use social media more effectively, use online tools to diversify your sources, and adds multimedia elements to your project.

Kickoff session

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will stop by to welcome you. Then, Drs. Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband will review how people make medical decisions, weaving narratives from real patients with insights from recent research to demonstrate how people might arrive at better choices.


Freelancer drop-in

Grab your breakfast in the Exhibit Hall, then head out into main conference center foyer, where some tables are set aside for you. Enjoy meeting other freelancers and sharing informal discussion on issues faced by independent journalists.

Freelance: Ideas that editors buy

This session offers freelancers the rare opportunity to hear directly from a panel of veteran editors about how to craft pitches that catch their attention and ultimately get a green light. Learn how to start a dialogue with editors, how to write a perfect pitch, and what editors want and need from freelance writers.

Freelance PitchFest

Freelancers will have the chance to sign up for short pitch sessions with editors from magazines, newspapers and websites. Get a better understanding of those outlets’ needs. Discuss story ideas you have. Put your résumé and clips into the hands of the people who can hire you. This has been called AHCJ’s version of “speed dating for writers” and we keep things moving to make as many matches with editors and writers as possible.

Exhibit Hall

The Exhibit Hall serves as our networking center on Friday and Saturday, with informational booths offering story ideas and easy access to story resources. Don’t forget the prize drawings for some great reporter tools.


Freelance: Road to security

Two independent journalists and a consultant who helps creative freelancers market their services effectively will discuss why freelance writers must see themselves as small business owners. Topics covered will include marketing, customer service and the value of specialization. Attendees will get tips and advice on how to manage their freelance businesses for financial success.

Freelance: Maintaining quality under pressure

It’s true for every journalist, but especially for freelancers: We have to blog, tweet, tape video and audio, and write or edit, doing more in less time and for less compensation. But the time crunch is even more acute for freelancers, who have no tech or production staffs or librarians to share the load. This panel of experienced freelancers will explore how to stay on-task, maintain accuracy, meet in-field production challenges, and stay prepared for fact-checking, all as a solo practitioner.


Freelance: Continuing to progress in your career

Every job has tedious aspects but freelancers can’t complain to the boss. It’s on us to find a path to satisfying professional work. Panelists at this session will share insights and experience gained along their unique roads to achieving career goals – journalistic as well as personal – amid the imperatives of running a business.